Bour-trees, or elder trees to the uninitiated, have had a fine flowering season, with their creamy blossoms now morphing into dark red clusters of berries.

Just the right shelter for W D Cocker’s bogle, though whether the spectre is as frightening as the speaker claims is another matter! From Cocker’s Poems in Scots and English (Brown, Son & Ferguson). 

                         THE BOGLE

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There’s a bogle by the bour-tree at the lang loan heid,

I canna thole the thocht o’ him, he fills ma he’rt wi’ dreid;

He skirls like a hoolet, an’ he rattles a’ his banes,

An’ gi’es himsel’ an unco fash to fricht wee weans.


He’s never there by daylicht, but ance the gloamin’ fa’s,

He creeps alang the heid-rig, an’ through the tattie-shaws,

Syne splairges through the burn, an’ comes sprachlin’ ower the stanes,

Then coories doun ahint the dyke to fricht wee weans.


I canna say I’ve seen him, an’ it’s no’ that I am blin’,

But, whene’er I pass the bour-tree, I steek ma een an’ rin;

An’ though I get a tum’le whiles I’d raither thole sic pains,

Than look upon the likes o’ yon that frichts wee weans.


I daurna gang that gait ma lane by munelicht or by mirk,

Oor Tam’s no feart, but then he’s big, an’ strang as ony stirk;

He says the bogle’s juist the win’ that through the bour-tree maens.

The muckle gowk! It’s no the win’ that frichts wee weans.